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Freedom Alert

Four years ago, Natalya Estemirova was abducted and shot to death in an attack suspected to have come as a result of her work as a human rights defender and journalist. Freedom House remembers her today and condemns Russian authorities’ continued “inability” to identify the perpetrators.  

Freedom House condemns the amendments to The Gambia’s Information and Communications Act - passed by the National Assembly on July 3 – which penalize those who spread “false news or information”  against the government. These amendments further restrict freedom of expression, press freedom and internet freedom in The Gambia and demonstrate the government’s open hostility towards the media.

Freedom House is dismayed by the announcement that Turkish prosecutors would seek the arrest of organizers of Taksim Solidarity, a leader of the Gezi Park protests, for “founding a criminal organization” with the intention of inciting violence. The charges appeared to be another move to punish peaceful protest in Turkey. Although a court has rejected the initial charges, the prosecutors may raise them again at their discretion, which constitutes a clear threat to freedom of speech and assembly.

The arrest of two Jordanian activists on July 4 after attending a debate on the impact of Jordan’s press and publications law is illustrative of an ongoing crackdown by Jordanian authorities on free expression. Freedom House calls for the immediate release of both activists and for the government to allow for open public debate of the Press and Publications Law without fear of detention.

Freedom House condemns new amendments to Sudan’s Armed Forces Act which will allow for civilians to be prosecuted in military courts for committing crimes against the “state’s security.” The amendments – which were passed on July 2, 2013 by the Sudanese Parliament but have yet to be signed by President Omar al-Bashir – would allow the government to further clamp down on civil society in Sudan. We urge President Bashir to send the amendments back to Parliament for revisions, as the current amendments fail to comply with Sudan’s international legal obligations.

Freedom House condemns the violence outside the headquarters of the Egyptian Republican Guard in Cairo today and calls on all parties to exercise the utmost restraint.

As the fourth anniversary of the 2009 crackdown on peaceful Uighur demonstrators by Chinese security forces nears, Freedom House remains deeply concerned about the ongoing repression in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China. Freedom House calls on the Chinese government to allow an independent investigation of the July 2009 events and to immediately release or provide information about the hundreds of detainees who remain unaccounted for.

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